Healthy Cash Flow – Introduction to Renting to Travel Nurses

Table of Contents

Healthy Cash Flow – Introduction to Renting to Travel Nurses 3

Overview 3

Keep the Revenue Coming by Renting to Professional Travel Nurses 3

1 – Introduction 4

Welcome – Before We Begin 4

Today’s Renting Realities 6

The Best-Kept Secret In Reliable Renters 8

Renting to Travel Nurses, Explained 9

The Opportunity For Long-Term Landlords 9

The Opportunity For Short-Term Rental Owners 10

The Opportunity For Investors 10

So, why are travel nurses truly ideal tenants? 10

A Steady Supply of Reliable Income 10

Qualified to Pay the Rent – and More 11

No Need to Evict – or Wonder When They’ll Leave 11

Responsible Stewards of Their Living Space 12

A Better Way to Cash-Flow 12

2 – Understanding Your Tenants 13

The World of a Travel Nurse 13

When do they look for properties? 16

What do they look for in a rental? 16

Some of the most important criteria are: 17

Proximity to their hospital (10 minutes is ideal, 30 minutes max) 17

Parking for their car and/or easy access to public transit 17

A safe neighborhood 17

A bedroom with a full-sized bed and a private bath for each individual occupant 17

A fully furnished unit with all of the basics covered, including utilities and WiFi 18

Pets okay 18

A clean and comfortable environment 19

A responsive landlord who can be trusted 19

Nurses Want Convenience And Safety 19

Where do they find their rentals? 20

How do you connect with and screen them? 21

Make sure you’re responsive 22

How do they pay you? 22

Making them Feel At Home 23

3 – Preparing the Property 25

Property Prep 25

If You’re An Investor 25

If You’re A Landlord 25

If You’re A Property Manager 25

Flooring, Paint, Window Treatments, and More 26

Furniture 26

Bedrooms 27

Bathrooms 28

Kitchen 29

Living Area 29

Pet Space 30

Utilities 31

Parking 32

Amenities 32

4 – Final Considerations 33

Maintenance issues 33

Warning! Things to Watch Out For 33

Positioning your property for maximum occupancy 35

Property Nicknames / Headlines 36

Photos of the Property 36

Photos of of You 36

Contact Details 36

Identifying great investment opportunities 36

One final word… 37

Healthy Cash Flow – Introduction to Renting to Travel Nurses

Keep the revenue coming by renting to professional travel nurses

Overview

Keep the Revenue Coming by Renting to Professional Travel Nurses

Owning an investment property is a fantastic way to build long-term wealth.

Tax breaks, recurring income, and the ability to leverage your assets have enriched countless individuals.

But to realize the benefits, you need to keep your property occupied. You also need to find tenants who won’t destroy your valuable real estate. And in these times of economic uncertainty, eviction restrictions, and increasingly challenging legal requirements, being a landlord is harder than ever.

One of the best-kept secrets of cash-flowing landlords is renting to travel nurses. They’re medical professionals who typically receive housing stipends to cover their rent. So, they not only need a quiet, safe place to stay on a regular basis, but they’re also responsible, low-maintenance adults who often leave the property as good as (if not better than) they found it.

Looking for a way to tap into real estate investing, while minimizing the risks that often accompany buy-and-hold residential real estate?

Are you concerned about the horror stories about nightmare tenants and destroyed property?

Do you want to take advantage of short-term rentals, but you’re leery of wild parties from transient vacationers, as well as the steep fees from online booking sites?

We’re about to walk you through a model that many landlords follow, but has yet to be fully explained to the general public in a comprehensive model. The All-Ready Rented program provides you with intelligence and insights to help you decide if renting to travel nurses is right for you, and then take action, so you can cash flow your investments with this favorable type of tenant.

 

1 – Introduction

Welcome – Before We Begin

Today’s COVID-19 real estate market is about as unprecedented, as they come. When was the last time millions of people lost their jobs in the space of a few months? When was the last time renters were unable (or unwilling) to pay rent – en masse? When was the last time the government prohibited landlords from evicting their tenants?

If you answered never, we’re on the same page.

At the same time, as of this writing on November 27, 2020, there’s talk of the U.S. running out of housing inventory. In late September, 2020, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home sales had hit a 14-year high in August. And if homes continue to sell at the rate they’re at, according to Business Insider on November 25, the United States would run out of new homes inventory in just a few months.

What is going on?!

Nobody expected the real estate market to perform at all during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. People were saying, because of limits on in-person showings, market activity would slow down. They said that because of lost jobs, people wouldn’t be able to get mortgages. They said that nobody would want to do anything – buy or sell – because of all the uncertainty.

And they were partly right… in some places. Lockdowns have kept some people at home. Fear of infection has kept people from attending open houses in person. And with unemployment at a historic high, who has the money to buy a house?

And yet, home sales are up. The market is booming. Experts keep warning about a “bubble” (when don’t they?), and with all the forebearances for mortgages in place, which will eventually come due… potentially leading to a sharp increase in foreclosures.

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.

So, what’s an investor like you to do? You know the stock market is unpredictable, and real estate offers a great investment alternative that appreciates over time and provides significant tax benefits, if managed properly. You know that rental properties can be a good source of ongoing income over the long term. You’ve heard all the testimonies about how people are cashing in on short-term rentals.

But still… there’s plenty to discourage you (and lots of other people) from diving into investing in rental properties. And rightfully so. In these uncertain times with quarantine restrictions and lots of unknowns about how COVID-19 spreads, how can you effectively manage your rental property? Does it even make sense to own a one, right now? After all, if tenants don’t pay their rent, and you can’t evict them, isn’t a rental property a potential losing proposition?

We believe All-Ready Rented offers a great hybrid solution for individuals who wish to take advantages of the tax breaks of rental properties, while building long-term growth and minimizing their exposure to pandemic-era risks: renting to travel nurses. They’re professionals who need safe, secure, comfortable housing, while they’re on a 13-week rotation with a hospital. They receive stipends to cover their rent, and many landlords have wonderful experiences renting to them. They can be clean, conscientious, and leave the property in great condition at the planned time, which is a welcome change for many short-term rental owners. And because travel nurse housing tends to rent at above-market rates, some landlords will only rent to travel nurses, because it’s the only way they can be sure they’ll cash flow.

For all the upsides of investing in travel nurse rentals, be aware that there are additional demands.

  • The properties you invest in must meet strict criteria. They must be in the right location, they must be the right size, and they must have specific amenities to be attractive to your future tenants. Failure to follow the guidelines (which we detail in later modules) can make your rental unsuitable for travel nurses and unprofitable for you. Don’t worry – we guide you through the best practices to follow.
  • When renting, you (or you property manager) must be more hands-on with nurses as you screen them and arrange for their occupancy. You can’t simply list the property and leave it at that. It’s more similar to renting to long-term tenants, just repeating the screening process every 3-6 months. You can’t just “set it and forget it”. We’ll explain later how to best manage this – it’s not rocket science, but you have to follow certain steps to do it well.
  • There’s a different set of contingencies to plan for. Sometimes nurses’ assignments change at the last minute. Or they need to extend their stay. You may be inundated with inquiries about your property, even though it won’t be available for another three months. And inspections and/or maintenance should be conducted regularly at specific intervals. Travel nurse renting is similar to both short-term and long-term renting scenarios. Fortunately, if you own a property that proves attractive to tenants, you can quickly pivot to compensate for any changes in plans or occupancy. And while differences in maintenance schedules may take more planning, ultimately (as we’ll discuss later), it works in your favor.

You may decide, after weighing the pros and cons, that you don’t want to take on the different level of effort required for successful travel nurse rentals. And that’s okay. We’d rather see you make an informed decision and not commit to a path you can’t support. No one is served by that.

As with anything, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And while travel nurse rentals do offer the potential for increased cash flow and the kinds of tenants you love to rent to, be aware that there’s a different level of property and tenant management involved. We think it’s worth it, though. And the extra effort can lead to deeper rapport and ongoing friendships with your travel nurse tenants – a personal connection and “emotional paycheck” that you just can’t get from an average short-term rental guest, or some long-term tenants.

We’d love to see you seriously consider this model. And to help you reach your goals, we offer in-depth resources and insights to help you work through the logistics of selecting, financing, furnishing, and renting out your travel nurse properties. Every challenge hides an opportunity, and we’re here to help you navigate the process successfully.

 

Today’s Renting Realities

There’s rarely been a more challenging time to be a landlord. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc with people’s daily lives, up-ending the economy, and wiping out jobs that used to be reliable sources of good income, renters and landlords alike are challenged. Renters are finding it difficult to pay rent. Some keep up with it. Others have to break out payments. Still others cannot pay at all. And some… well, they just decide to stop paying rent, because evictions have been prohibited in many parts of the country.

Long-term landlords are feeling the pressure. When evictions aren’t allowed, landlords have no choice but to allow tenants to stay, even if they are causing significant damage to their property. At the same time, their own mortgage still needs to be paid, maintenance has to be performed, and expenses don’t stop happening. But without a steady flow of rent, it’s tough to stay in business.

In fact, many would-be long-term rental investors are steering clear of the business, due to the risks. The last thing they want is to carry multiple mortgages, and not have tenants holding up their end of the bargain. From state to state, restrictions on evictions can vary. Plus, the rights of tenants and landlords are unevenly supported by the courts. Many landlords we’ve heard from have complained that they have nightmare renters they can’t get rid of, even though they haven’t paid rent in months, and they’re also wrecking the property. It’s the equivalent of squatting, but what’s a property owner to do?

Some landlords we’ve heard from have their sheriff’s office on speed dial, the minute eviction restrictions lift. But then, the state extends the eviction moratorium… and they’re out of luck… again… running the risk of losing their primary residence, not just their rental property.

But even when the eviction moratoriums lift, it can be difficult to get a court date. The courts in many states are back-logged, since plenty of landlords are needing evict problem tenants. But courts haven’t all been running at full-capacity, so even when the ability evict is back in play, there’s a proverbial “line around the courthouse” of property owners waiting for their chance to file papers on their renters.

Even when the pandemic lifts, it’s still going to be a long, drawn-out mess, getting long-term headache renters out.

Short-term rental owners have been feeling the pressure, too, from location to location Bookings have been in sharp decline in different areas – either from local laws prohibiting them, or a reluctance of travelers to take a chance on getting sick from their vacation. The short-term market has seen some relief, and many property owners are reporting good numbers. However, short-term renting under even ideal conditions has its risks.

We’re sure you’ve heard all the stories about the guests who don’t follow the rules… They bring more people than they’re allowed. They invite friends (and strangers) to wild parties. They trash the property, even as they send text messages to the hosts about what a “wonderful time” they’re having. They don’t arrive when they’re supposed to. They show up early and want to leave their luggage in the house while they go sightseeing. Or they don’t leave when they’re supposed to, throwing a wrench in the cleaning and turnover schedule. They damage the furniture. They build a fire in the back yard, even though there’s no fire pit. They steal nice things. They break, burn, scrape, scratch, flood, shred, stain, and otherwise trash any number of items in the property.

And they complain. Either there are “no knives” (they never looked in the kitchen drawer)… or the sheets are too scratchy… or there’s a smell in the house… or they complain about the absence of features that you specifically told them were not there. They give bad reviews, which impacts your rating on the rental site. And then they ask to come back – at a discount.

Should something really go wrong, and complaints are filed, the rental sites often side with guests, not hosts. That means you can end up not only sustaining damage with a whole lot of extra aggravation, but you also don’t have the recourse you deserve. You may be 100% in the right, but because of the tenant-bias of many rental sites, you can’t get the justice you need. You’re out of luck. Because those short-term rental sites have the market locked up, you’re pretty much at their mercy. It’s a horrible feeling. And it’s causing many property owners to rethink – or leave – their short-term rental business.

Once upon a time, owning a rental property could be a path to building long-term, generational wealth. It was a way to generate a regular stream of income and realize tax advantages. Now, for many people, it’s become more of a liability than an asset. And landlords are selling. They’re getting out of the business.

But their pain doesn’t need to be your drama. There is a better way, and we’re about to dive into that.

The Best-Kept Secret In Reliable Renters

If you have a rental property that hasn’t been working for you, selling isn’t your only option for staying afloat in today’s challenging economic conditions.

If you’re considering purchasing a rental property to create generational wealth, but you’re wary about all the war stories, you don’t have to avoid real estate to protect your legacy.

As a matter of fact, there is a whole population of ready, willing, and able renters who will occupy your property for 3-6 months at a time (sometimes longer), pay above-market rents, and then vacate the premises promptly, allowing the next one to arrive and pay you their above-market rent.

These tenants are travel nurses — certified, credentialed, highly educated and trained healthcare professionals, who travel around the country doing 13-26 week rotations (or sometimes 4, 6 or 8 weeks) in every major metropolitan area around the country – and some smaller cities, as well.

This isn’t a new thing. Travel nursing was established in the late 1970s, to address a national shortage in nurses. It got its foothold in the 1980s, and it’s been growing ever since. Our healthcare system has been under increasing stress for years. Hospitals and other medical facilities are constantly working to fill vacant positions with top talent, but there just aren’t enough nurses to fill the spots. To meet the demand – especially in pandemic times – roughly 80% of so-called “magnet hospitals” are turning to travel nurses. At the same time, more states are joining forces to allow for cross-country certification of highly qualified nurses. In the past, state regulations limited where nurses could work, but now the Nurse Licensure Compact makes it possible for nurses to practice across state lines.

As healthcare emergencies surge around the nation (for example, with COVID-19 spikes in California and Texas), hospitals need to staff up quickly, and travel nurses step in to temporarily fill the gaps. They are paid extra to do so, including stipends for housing, and they work with recruiters to find assignments typically lasting 13 weeks, with options to extend. As they travel, they need to find suitable housing near medical facilities.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are traveling more than ever.

All of this together means that more hospitals need qualified staff, more nurses are traveling, and as an investor or landlord, you won’t have a problem finding travel nurses rent from you. Of course, you do need to ensure that your property meets specific criteria, but we walk you through now to do that in later modules. As you’re probably already aware, the medical system is under increasing strain. Renting to travel nurses not only provides them with much-needed quality housing, but it also helps our nation as we grapple with the challenges of the pandemic and the growing population of ageing individuals with chronic health issues.

That’s where you come in.

Renting to Travel Nurses, Explained

These healthcare professionals travel the country, working 13- or 26-week rotations at medical centers. They require safe, comfortable accommodations, convenient to their place(s) of employment. And they receive stipends to cover their housing expenses, which means they get paid to pay their rent. In major metropolitan areas, there are thousands of open travel nursing positions which need to be filled.

As of this writing, the Baltimore has 1129 travel nurse openings, Houston has 2781 slots to fill, Los Angeles has 4252, and Seattle has 1372.

All of those nurses need places to stay, and while many do have access to company housing, many more choose to make their own arrangements. A quick survey of the housing listing site Furnished Finder (a major go-to site for travel nurses seeking housing) shows us that Seattle has 521 accommodations available, Baltimore has 159, Los Angeles has 521, and Houston has only 159.

Let’s break it all down:

City

Travel Nurse Openings

Available Units Listed

Baltimore, MD

1129

159

Houston, TX

2781

159

Los Angeles, CA

4252

521

Seattle, WA

1372

521

And that’s just scratching the surface, in terms of travel nurse activity and housing availability across the country.

As you can probably imagine, this means there’s ample opportunity to rent to travel nurses who need homes for 3-6 months. Travel nursing didn’t start with COVID, it is certainly not going to end, after the pandemic passes. On the contrary, travel nursing (and the nurse shortage) will continue throughout the coming years, our healthcare continues to struggle with nursing shortages, an ageing population, worsening chronic health conditions which never got addressed during the pandemic, and other surges, such as flu season and other “superbug”-related events.

The Opportunity For Long-Term Landlords

If you’ve been renting to long-term tenants, you may have had your share of “trouble tenants” – the ones who don’t like the color of paint on the walls… who call you at all hours to change light bulbs or fix damage they’ve caused… who put bottle caps in garbage disposals… and who withhold rent because of unrealistic demands you cannot (or will not) fulfill.

You may feel locked into the long-term model, because you don’t want to look for new tenants every couple of months. But we’ll show the way, so you won’t be looking for “new tenants” – you’ll actually be able to tap into a steadily renewable stream of the same type of tenant, for ongoing, repeatable, renewable cash flow.

Once you have your system in place, it’s a simple matter of “rinse and repeat” to stay fully booked.

The Opportunity For Short-Term Rental Owners

Tired of dealing with short-term headaches from vacationers and tenants who expect too much, and do too little? Tired of worrying about damage to your property? Wild parties? Extra tenants you never agreed to? Shocking surprises, after your renters move out?

Travel nurses are a great alternative. They’re low-maintenance, they are often able to pay above-market rents, and they always move on. These professional travelers can be your “dream tenants”. And these frontline workers will be truly grateful for everything you do to make their stay a safe and comfortable one.

In some cases, you may find yourself renting to the same travel nurses at later dates, as they know you and your property and reach out to you to set themselves up for future assignments.

The Opportunity For Investors

If you’ve been considering purchasing a rental property, but you’re reluctant to take a chance during the COVID lockdowns… or you’ve heard all the horror stories about nightmare tenants who never leave… now you can have the best of both worlds.

With a rental property housing travel nurses, you can have a cash-flowing investment with tenants who are short-term, with long-term sensibilities. These ideal tenants are low-maintenance, they’re employed, and they’re responsibly minded. With the right property outfitted correctly in the right location, you can realize attractive returns on your investment, as it continues to appreciate in value. And with the right teams in place, you can even do travel nurse housing investing across the country.

 

So, why are travel nurses truly ideal tenants?

You’ve probably already got a good idea about that, but let’s spell it out in more detail.

A Steady Supply of Reliable Income

Travel nurses are dedicated, experienced healthcare professionals who travel from one location to the next to take on work at different hospitals across the country. They work “rotations“ which are assignments to specific positions at hospitals for a predetermined length of time. As mentioned, rotations are typically 13 or 26 weeks, but they can also be four, six, or eight weeks in length. And because there are so many nurses “in circulation”, if you have a rental property that suits them close to medical facilities with travel nurse needs, you’re extremely well positioned to tap into a steady stream of repeat business – all from the same type of tenant.

Qualified to Pay the Rent – and More

In return for their flexibility and time away from home, travel nurses receive higher rates of pay. They also receive housing stipends, or they are given access to company sponsored housing. If they are paying for their own housing, a housing stipend may be considered tax-free income, so there is incentive for them to locate their own housing independently. They also have more control over their living arrangements, if they are using the housing stipend, versus taking company housing.

Stipend amounts vary from location to location, but the bottom line is, travel nurses are essentially paid to pay their rent. How many tenants do you know like that? They also have steady jobs – which is the whole reason that they’re coming to your area, to begin with. And because of their stipends, they can afford above-market rent.

Keep in mind that some nurses maintain a “tax home” in another state, so they may need to cover that mortgage, as well as their travel housing. But travel nurse rentals can be priced significantly above average rents. One of our founders has a rental in Baltimore where the average rents are $1,100/month. Her unit rents easily for $1,800, a full $700 above market rates. Plus, with her system in place, she has not had a service call in two years. It’s working out much better than her short-term rental experience – by far!

No Need to Evict – or Wonder When They’ll Leave

Another thing that makes travel nurses excellent tenant prospect is that they will not end up overstaying their welcome. They pay the rent during the time they’re in a property, and at the end of their rotation, they move on to the next rotation, or they go home. You don’t run the risk of them deciding they like the place, so they’re going to stay indefinitely – and not pay rent. In fact, a lot of them just want to go home, at the end of their 13 weeks, so you can plan for any maintenance activities during the turnover time.

This established timetable is a huge help with scheduling and completing maintenance on your property. You can coordinate with your handyman or facilities staff to regularly inspect and repair minor issues every 13 weeks. You won’t have to arrange a time that works for a tenant. You won’t have to jump through hoops to make sure they’re not in the unit, or you’re not disturbing them. You won’t have to step over other people’s possessions, and you won’t have to worry about damage (or accusations of damage) when repairs are made. You can just get in there, inspect the appliances and utilities, patch things up, and be ready for the next tenant in record time. Since you can inspect and repair every 3-6 months, big problems don’t have a chance to become big. You can head them off at the pass.

Responsible Stewards of Their Living Space

Travel nurses also are less inclined to trash your property. Their jobs entail the kind of attention to detail and cleanliness that works in your favor as a landlord. They are professionals, and they make their living from caring for others, and it’s in their best interest to have a clean, safe, comfortable place to stay when they get home from their long shift. Working 12 hours at a time doesn’t leave a lot of energy for wild parties, anyway. The nature of their work, their profession, and their personalities, helps to safeguard your property.

A Better Way to Cash-Flow

We’ve spoken with other landlords who rent to travel nurses, and in some metropolitan areas, renting to travel nurses is the only way they can be sure that properties will cash flow. In fact, sometimes it seems like this is a well-kept secret that they don’t want others to know about, because they don’t want the competition. The good news is, there are more than enough travel nurses to serve with quality, safe, comfortable housing. There’s steady demand, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

As you can see, the benefits and opportunities are considerable. So, why hesitate? Now’s a great time to acquiring properties and/or get your existing unit(s) ready for travel nurse rentals!

Before we start down that road, though, it’s important to understand who your tenants will be, what their needs are, and what their world is like. Having a full and complete understanding of their world will help you better choose your investments, outfit your properties, and serve them to the best of your ability.

2 – Understanding Your Tenants

The World of a Travel Nurse

If you’re a nurse, or you have a friend or family member who is a nurse, much of this will probably sound familiar to you. But keep in mind the unique experiences and needs of travel nurses. We’ll discuss them in depth here, so you can address through thoughtful preparation of your property and proper management of your time and resources.

Travel nurses have their own unique challenges and preferences, compared to other tenants. Fortunately, it is not difficult to meet those needs and figure out how you can best serve them.

As we mentioned before, travel nursing has been around for a while. The practice was started to compensate for staffing shortages across the nation. Nurses are unfortunately in short supply, and when there is a healthcare emergency, such as with COVID-19, hospitals need to staff up quickly to meet the need.

There is an extensive infrastructure of staffing agencies which list positions in major metropolitan areas, as well as some smaller cities and rural regions. There are hundreds of these staffing agencies, and there are over 65,000 open travel nurse positions listed on the site Bluepipes.com. Just a glance at the job listings shows over 4,900 travel nurse positions open in Houston alone – https://www.bluepipes.com/jobs?filter={%22profession%22:%221%22,%22positionTerms%22:[%223%22],%22location%22:%22Houston%20TX%22}.

Pay a visit to the site and check your area. If you’re in a major metropolitan area with multiple hospitals, you may have some attractive opportunities.

Some agencies do offer company housing, but a stipend for housing is often preferable. The stipend can count as non-taxable income, and the funds may be discretionary, i.e., if their housing costs less than their stipend, they can spend the rest on whatever they like. If they receive $3,000/month for the housing stipend, but their rent costs $1,800, that leaves them $1,200. And if your $1,800 unit is in an area where average comparable rent is $1,100 (as it is for one of our founders), you as the landlord have just cash flowed $700/month more than you would have otherwise. For nurses who want to take the risk of securing their own housing and making all of the arrangements them selves, there can be a significant benefit of hundreds of dollars per month. And for you, the upside is clear.

As mentioned, travel nurses are typically placed for 13 week rotations, and they often have the option to extend another 13 weeks. That means the standard length for your rentals would be three months, possibly six months. There will also be rotations the last for one month, a month and a half, or two months. But 13 weeks is the standard. Shifts can be 12-hours, or 5 8-hour shifts, or 3 12-hour days, or 4 12-hour nights. There’s a wide variety of options, and it’s a good idea to find out from the nurse what his/her schedule will be like so you can accommodate them.

Nurses don’t always know very far ahead of time about the location of their next rotation. First, they often work long hours and don’t have a lot of leisure time to “go shopping” for assignments. As is often the case with staffing of any type, opportunities can arise quickly, or they can disappear just as abruptly. Sometimes a nurse will sign on for an assignment in one city, but that may fall through and she needs to find an assignment in another city. Sometimes a nurse will wish to extend her rotation, and it looks like it’s OK, but then it may be canceled by the hospital without much advance notice.

As you can well imagine, there’s a great deal of urgency for nurses to find assignments quickly, especially when things change. Along with that need comes an urgency to find housing. That’s where you come in.

While it may seem a little risky to rent to tenants who can have things changed on very short notice, keep in mind that there are so many travel nurses in such urgent need of good housing, that if one arrangement falls through, you can quickly find someone to take the spot. One of our founder’s properties is so popular that in two years, it has never been vacant, and at one point she was turning away 50 inquiries per week for that rental. Because she has the right location, the right furnishings, the right amenities, and she’s responsive to everyone who reaches out, there’s no lack of tenants, and the property has been cash flowing regularly at above market rates.

Before she transitioned to travel nurse renting, her short-term rental business was fraught with tenant issues, including wild parties and noises that disturbed her neighbors. On top of the tenant issues, her short-term rental listing site subjected her to hefty fees and a bias towards the tenants. She didn’t have much recourse, when it came to managing the bad behavior of her tenants, which was yet another great reason to pivot from short-term vacation rentals to travel nurse housing.

We mention this (yet again) to point out that due to the nature of their jobs and their lives, travel nurses are far less likely to cause you these kinds of issues.

A day in the life of a travel nurse is very similar to the day in the life of any other nurse, with a few key exceptions. First, because they are responding to surges in healthcare needs, they are often on high stress, high demand assignments that really take it out of them each day. It can be exhausting, tending to extreme need, day in and day out. And since these needs are ongoing for 13 weeks running, they have to pace themselves, they have to take care of themselves, and they don’t have all that extra time and energy to be partying or punching holes in your walls.

Especially in these times of COVID, quality travel nurse housing is needed more than ever. As COVID surges around the country, burn-out is a huge problem, and they need isn’t going away anytime soon. Travel nurses literally just want a clean warm, well-equipped, comfortable space to retreat to at the end of their shift. They need Internet WiFi to stay connected with their friends, loved ones, and employers, and they need all of the basic comforts of home. They need Smart TVs to connect to, so they can unwind with Netflix. But they don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, and the furnishings that they do use, they generally take care of.

Put yourself in their shoes… You’ve been working long, demanding hours for days at a time. And you know you have to get up the next morning and go back and do it all over again. All you really want is a warm meal, a shower, and some downtime to regain your balance. You want a quiet, basic space that doesn’t require a lot of attention on your part. You just want the basics that will keep you happy, secure, and comfortable during your time.

In some cases, nurses who travel will rent unfurnished units and keep only the bare minimum there. Some of them travel with inflatable air mattresses, which they just put on the floor, and then they rent furniture for three months. Others rent rooms in peoples houses, sharing the space four lower cost lodgings. That was very much the case in years before the pandemic, but now that living spaces may not be safe, and now that furnished units are increasingly available, it’s not as necessary for nurses to live with the barest of necessities, or to share space with a family.

If someone’s renting a small unit under 1,000 square feet, with a kitchen and all the appliances, tableware, and cookware, a clean, well-appointed bathroom, and a living space with a few pieces of comfortable furniture and WiFi, they’re ahead of the game, compared to an unfurnished apartment or a room in someone’s house. They’ll will need to spend more, obviously. But think about it – if you were traveling for months at a time, which would you prefer? Sleeping on an air mattress on the floor, or an actual bed in a unit that was a space just for you? I’d pay the money for the room. Especially if I were receiving a stipend.

Sometimes nurses travel with family members – some of them are also nurses, some are just along for the travel.

Put yourself in the shoes of a nurse whose partner is also a travel nurse. Couples can see the country together and work 13 week rotations at the same time in the same city, even if they’re not at the same hospital. Having a unit that is all theirs, that they can call home for three or six months, instead of staying at a hotel or an extended stay sweet, can be priceless. Nursing itself is demanding, so by providing a space that is comfortable, safe, quiet, and has all the necessities of life, can be hugely helpful to our front-line workers.

Now, let’s look at the weekends. After getting some rest, many are ready to enjoy local attractions, have a meal out, or just go about their lives, free of the cares to keep them occupied all week. They need suggestions for fun activities, entertainment, sightseeing, and other ways to rest and relax. They need to stay fit, healthy, and be at their best when they’re on the job. They may take time on the weekends to exercise, to explore the area they just moved to, or venture outside the area. One of the benefits of travel nursing is that you get to see different parts of the country that you normally wouldn’t. And nurses want to take advantage of that opportunity! Especially in COVID times, nurses need distractions that will lift them up and help restore their energy and spirit.

Sometimes, if they are traveling with their families, they need to know about family-friendly activities or other attractions that will be interesting to their kids or partners. Another consideration for families traveling together, is the “kid-safe” factor. Because hospitals tend to have a lot of ambulances coming and going, as well as sirens and speeding fire trucks, ambulances, or police cars, a rental that’s close to hospitals probably isn’t the best option for a family with kids. They tend to prefer staying outside the city – and that may open up investment opportunities, if you’re focused on suburbs around major metropolitan areas.

When do they look for properties?

Rotations by design do not last forever, so before the end of the assignment, they will be looking for new opportunities. Their current rotation might also be going longer than expected. Toward the end of the 13 weeks, you may hear from them about their plans, either confirming that they will be moving out on the pre-arranged date, or informing you that their rotation is extended and they will need another three months in your unit. This can take some coordination, especially if you’ve been talking with other nurses about them renting from you.

Unfortunately, sometimes plans change and things fall through, so be prepared for that eventuality. When someone tells you that they won’t be staying another three months or their next rotation got canceled but their current rotation got extended so they will need to stay. Changes of plans are one of the challenges that go along with travel nursing, so having an understanding landlord who understands the nurse’s situation is very important and also very valuable. It’s also useful for you, so that you can plan accordingly and react in a timely manner. Everyone involved should be aware of how fluid situations can be, so those conversations don’t need to be difficult. Just be clear about expectations and requirements, and talk it through with everyone.

Because nurses who travel don’t get paid if they don’t work, it’s in their best interest to move onto the next rotation as quickly as possible. That means you don’t have to sweat the chances that they’ll overstay their time, like can happen with short-term guests. If you set up your property with a keycode type of lock, they can just move on.

What do they look for in a rental?

As mentioned before travel nurses can have access to company housing which is provided to them free of charge. However, if they opt to find their own housing, they can receive stipends which are not only more than what company housing costs but are also tax free income. If a nurse is receiving $2,000 a month as a housing stipend, but she only spends $1,200 of that on her housing, that’s $800 she can use for other things. There are pros and cons to utilizing housing that’s been provided by the agency or hospital, but the extra discretionary money is a big incentive for them to take control of their own housing situation.

Some of the most important criteria are:

Proximity to their hospital (10 minutes is ideal, 30 minutes max)

Think about it – their jobs can be extremely demanding, and they can work very long hours, so the last thing they need is a long commute, to and from the hospital. Being just a few blocks away can be a heaven-sent advantage, especially in winter months or when the weather is bad. There’s nothing like being just a few minutes from home, after the end of a long shift.

Parking for their car and/or easy access to public transit

Many nurses have cars, and they need to park them somewhere safe. They may not need a car to get to and from work (if they’re within walking distance of the hospital or they have access to public transit), but they may use it on the weekends or when they run errands during the week. They’ll need a safe place to park, and having a designated space or private pad can be a huge plus.

Public transit may be a good option for nurses, if it runs regularly at convenient times. Many hospitals and some municipalities provide their own shuttles along a designated route or “loop”, so if your unit is near a shuttle stop, that can be a selling point.

A safe neighborhood

Safety is key concern with nurses, especially since many hospitals are not in the safest areas. If your unit is close to a hospital, it may be impacted by the quality of the surroundings. You might get a great value on paper, and all the numbers work perfectly… but if the neighborhood is “iffy” it can keep nurses away, and you won’t be able to rent it at above-market rates. That will impact your investment in a big way, so, keep that in mind.

A bedroom with a full-sized bed and a private bath for each individual occupant

Nurses don’t need a lot of room – in fact, smaller spaces can work better for individuals, since it’s less space they have to clean and keep organized. Some nurses travel together, and each will need their own private bath.

If couples are traveling together, they will likely share a bedroom (you should have at least a queen-size bed for couples). They may also be fine with sharing a bathroom, but ideally it should have a “Jack and Jill” double sink, with plenty of room for each of them.

A fully furnished unit with all of the basics covered, including utilities and WiFi

While a travel nurse rental doesn’t need to have all the luxury amenities people have come to expect from short-term rentals, they do need the basics. They don’t need a pool or a hot tub, or mini shampoos and a welcome basket. They do need:

  • a full kitchen with all utensils with an eating area,
  • a clean and completely finished bathroom,
  • a sitting/lounging area where they can relax,
  • a well-furnished bedroom which is quiet and dark,
  • a Smart TV for them to connect to online streaming,
  • all utilities (ample heating and cooling) and WIFI,

Keep in mind that they are traveling to work, so having a basic yet functional space keeps things simple for them and makes it easier to live their lives.

Pets okay

Over one-third (35%) of nurses travel with pets, typically small dogs, and sometimes cats.

We recommend that you indicate pets are allowed when listing your property, whether you intend to take pets or not. Why? Sometimes a nurse who typically travels with a pet will leave it behind during a rotation, so they don’t actually need a pet-friendly unit. However, they may have saved their pet-friendly search criteria on a listing site. So, they would not see your property because the site thinks they are searching for only a rental that allows pets.

But ultimately the choice is yours to make. You can decline to rent to nurses with pets, even while connecting with a larger group of potential tenants.

If you are able to take pets, that could be another revenue source. You can add a non-refundable pet deposit, in addition to the security deposit. This is standard, and nurses will be familiar with the practice.

Keep in mind: Nurses who travel with a small dog or cat may have plenty of experience being responsible owners. They will know how to manage their animal companion, and with your non-refundable deposit (which is essentially like charging extra rent for a pet), you will have coverage from potential damage, which is actually less likely to occur than with other pet owners who are not responsible with their animals.

 

 

A clean and comfortable environment

Cleanliness is essential, and nurses are some of the cleanest tenants our property manager has worked with. Just having a place that’s pleasant to come home to can be such a blessing. After a long shift, just being able to make dinner and put your feet up while you watch t.v. or check social media can be a welcome break from the pressures of the day. Some nurses like to share space with other nurses, in which case you could rent a three bedroom, three bath house to three different nurses. Just make sure they each have their own private bath.

A responsive landlord who can be trusted

When preparing to come to an unfamiliar city, to do demanding work under intense pressure, nurses need help. You can be of tremendous assistance to them, if you’re responsive to them when they inquire about your property, and then go about making the arrangements to move in. They’re trusting you to provide a home-away-from-home, so it’s important to be attentive and caring about their needs.

Needless to say, these are important because it’s not always possible to get them.

If you can provide these, you are ahead of a lot of the competition.

And if you’re considering purchasing an investment property, with the intention of renting to travel nurses, pay special attention to these factors when making your selection.

Nurses Want Convenience And Safety

Again, think about what their average day is like. They’re dealing with problems, sometimes non-stop, including some pretty dangerous situations. Do they really want have to deal with another dangerous situation in the neighborhood where their rental unit is? No.

If they’re walking home at night after a long shift, they don’t want to walk through bad neighborhoods in the dark – especially in the middle of a snowy winter. They also don’t want to worry about auto theft, burglaries, or home break-ins. They need a place to call home, where they can relax, rest, and rejuvenate.

At the same time, they’re looking for convenience.

Investors must find the balance between neighborhoods that are in close proximity to the hospital, which may not be Class A, but will rent regularly. Additionally, a neighborhood may not look ideal on paper, but it can still include properties that will work well for travel nurse rental purposes. And don’t forget, across the nation (especially in cities like Baltimore), neighborhoods are being revitalized by investors and developers, so a “borderline” area may indeed improve over the course of a few years, which can appreciate the value of your property and increase the value of your portfolio overall.

Another thing to keep in mind is that hospitals and municipalities often provide transportation to healthcare professional working at their location. For example, the City of Baltimore provides the Charm City Circulator, which follows an established loop and connects neighborhoods a number of blocks away with the hospitals. A rental property located along that route will make it easier for nurses to get to and from work while the shuttles are running, mitigating some of the risks associated with traveling on foot through some neighborhoods.

A lot depends on whether their shifts match the scheduled transit options, but if there is public transportation available at times that work for them, having a unit that is farther away from the hospital may not be prohibitive.

The whole point is making sure that your property is well positioned to give nurses easy access to their workplace while keeping them safe on their way, to and from work, as well as when they are in the unit.

Where do they find their rentals?

Looking for rentals is a common activity for travel nurses, and there are specific places they can look. There are a handful of websites which cater specifically to travel nurses and connect them with rental properties which are also geared towards travel nurses. These sites are used very heavily by travel nurses, and you can list on more than one of them.

Common sources are:

Sites specifically oriented to travel nurses

  • Furnished Finder – https://www.furnishedfinder.com/
  • Travel Nurse Housing – https://www.travelnursehousing.com/

Short-term rental sites

  • airbnb – https://www.airbnb.com/
  • Vrbo – https://www.vrbo.com/

Facebook Travel Nurse Groups

  • See the Resources section for a list of groups

Other options include Craigslist and a number of other vacation rental and homesharing sites. However, renting via Craigslist can involve a higher level of risk, since there is no vetting of properties or listing owners.

Since nurses already have full schedules and they are short on time, it can be quicker, easier, and safer for them to find housing via established sites like Furnished Finder and Travel Nurse Housing. Those sites verify the hosts and their properties, to make sure they are legitimate.

Also, Facebook groups give nurses the chance to interact with hosts personally, which can give them an added level of comfort and convenience. However, it’s harder for nurses to find what they’re looking for because they cannot search as efficiently as they can on a site like Furnished Finder.

As a landlord / investor, you don’t need to list your property on every short-term rental site. You just have to know which ones are the most popular. In our experience, with the right property in the right location listed on one or two sites, there is no lack of occupancy. Travel nurse housing that meets all the criteria is in high demand!

How do you connect with and screen them?

So, you have your listing online, and you’re starting to get inquiries.

When a travel nurse first reaches out to you, your first impulse maybe to say Yes! immediately. But some screening is in order. You will need to:

  • check their most recent paystubs to verify their employment,
  • ask for references if they have any, and
  • just get to know them a little bit, to watch for any red flags.

You won’t need to do as much screening with him as you would for other tenants, because of the nature of their jobs. The nursing agencies which place them will also have done extensive screening, to begin with.

Just be aware that sometimes people will imitate a travel nurse in order to get into a property. If the individual who reaches out to you does not have any current paystubs from recent nursing jobs, exercise caution.

You can also check their social media accounts, seeing what sort of Facebook posts are there. Again, keep an eye out for the types of behavior that tend to make short-term rentals a headache. Pictures of wild parties might foreshadow issues. Again, because of the nature of travel nurse renting, the interaction with nurses is more intensive up front, than it is with short-term guests. It’s very similar to a long-term renter situation, with less danger of non-payment.

Another option for screening is a service like KeyCheck or Cozy, sometimes at no cost to you (the tenant may pay the fees).

KeyCheck lets you pull free credit reports and background checks, as well as create custom leases. Credit and background checks are free of charge to landlords, while you can subscribe for custom leases.

Cozy also provides free background checks and credit reports, and it also handles rent collection for you.

Make sure you’re responsive

You always want to be immediately responsive to anyone who reaches out to you inquiring about your property. Competition can be fierce for good clients and tenants, so make sure you respond promptly when someone approaches you about renting from you. Always make sure you have SMS notifications turned on, no matter what platform you’re using, so nurses can get in touch with you. If they are working long shifts, they need to be able to get hold of you when they get a break.

Also, you want to make make it clear that you will in fact be a good person to rent from. There are many stories about nurses who send money to a landlord for a property that looks great, but when she arrives at 10 o’clock at night after having driven for hours, she finds that the property does not even exist. Yes, it happens. Also, nurses can end up in really bad neighborhoods without realizing it ahead of time – and at late hours when it’s even more dangerous.

Those are exceptions to the rule, but they do happen, and many travel nurses are aware of that. You want to present yourself as a reliable, trustworthy landlord, so make sure that your phone number is available, you can be reached by SMS text, and you respond promptly and courteously when contacted.

How do they pay you?

After you have made all the arrangements, and you have vetted them (and they have vetted you and your property), you’ll need to collect deposits, as well as set up rent payments.

When you arrange for payment, make sure that you’re using a system that works for both of you. Some nurses prefer to use a system like Stripe or PayPal that can be easily traced and lets them easily reverse charges. Others like Venmo because it’s quick and easy. Many online payment options are available, via apps and bank transfers. Any payment that doesn’t allow easy refunds should be discouraged, since assignments can change, and there are enough complications to deal with.

Wiring money can be problematic, since they may not have the ability to easily receive a refund if an exception arises. Even if you never do issue a refund, using a system like PayPal that allows someone to cancel a payment or easily track the amount that’s been paid, makes you look more professional and makes you a more desirable landlord.

For a more comprehensive approach to screening and payments, you may wish to use a service like Cozy. As mentioned before, the service provides credit checks and background reports and rent collection – all free for landlords (tenants pay the fees). Or, you can handle everything yourself – just make sure with works for the nurse. as well.

Making them Feel At Home

Arriving in a whole new city that you’re not familiar with can be extremely stressful. There is also the remote chance, and probably a lingering suspicion, that the property they expect to check into will be different from what they saw online. There’s often a concern that it will be in a bad neighborhood, or it may not even exist. Unfortunately, this happens all too often with scammers who post bogus properties on listing sites, take money from nurses, and then disappear, never to be heard from again. Travel nurses are often well aware of this risk, and they do some due diligence to prevent it.

Just keep in mind how stressful It can be to move from one place to the next, let alone run the risk of being duped by some shyster.

With the increasing use of pushbutton locks, turnover has become much easier than ever. Once upon a time, someone had to meet the nurse at the unit when they arrived, which required a fair amount of coordination – especially when schedules changed. But now that you can install a pushbutton lock and send they keycode to your tenant, there’s no need for you to meet them when they arrive, or collect the keys when they leave.

Some landlords like to provide gift baskets to their nurses – fresh coffee, some snacks, perhaps some personal care items. You can check on Facebook to see what other hosts are doing for their nurse tenants, but it’s not required. More important is to provide information on the area, so they can settle in and just live their life.

A binder with local information is very helpful, including:

  • Local restaurants
  • Grocery shopping
  • Convenience stores & pharmacies
  • Sights and attractions
  • Public transit info
  • Local tourist resources
  • Emergency numbers
  • Details about the property, including special considerations
  • Trash/recycling pickup days, street cleaning schedules, or other public services activities that may affect their schedule.

After you’ve rented to several nurses, you’ll get an idea for what will make their stay a good one. You’re providing them with a home away from home, and it’s so important to help them feel welcome.

 

3 – Preparing the Property

Property Prep

For travel nurses it’s not enough just to have a property. You have to have the right kind of property in the right location and it needs to be outfitted property as well.

The best properties for single traveling nurses are under 1,000 square feet with a full and kitchen and bath, a living area, and a bedroom. They don’t need a lot of luxury amenities. They just need the basics, and these can be provided without massive expense.

In this section, we’ll talk about how to efficiently and cost-effectively outfit your unit for everyone’s benefit.

If You’re An Investor

You must factor in the costs of furnishing the unit, when assessing breakeven on a deal. In Baltimore, we have furnished units for under $2,000. But each property is different, and costs will vary from location to location, as well as the purchasing choices made. Start with the base from the list we provide, and work from there. But at the bare minimum, you should furnish as we specify for baseline.

If you have purchased a “turnkey” property with furniture provided, have the furniture and fixtures all inspected, to ensure there are no irregularities (like cosmetic fixes that hide a bigger problem) or adjustments that need to be made (such as to plumbing or wiring).

If You’re A Landlord

If you already have a furnished unit for short-term rentals, you may actually wish to simplify the unit. For example, you may not need to provide as many towels and linens. You may not need to have an extravagantly appointed kitchen. And some of the furniture you already have may turn out to be non-essential. It’s actually easier for nurses to have more simply furnished living space, since it’s that much less they need to keep clean and organized.

If you have a unit that is unfurnished, follow our baseline furnishings list and work from there. Again, keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be expensive.

If You’re A Property Manager

Follow the guidelines we provide to ensure the unit works best for nurses.

If you have just been engaged to manage a travel nurse rental, inspect the property thoroughly to make sure it doesn’t have any issues – visible or hidden. The last thing you need is a 2 a.m. call from a newly moved-in nurse who has water leaking through her sitting room ceiling, or electrical shorts. Keep in mind, you’ll have additional time to inspect and repair at three month intervals, but doing the up-front inspections is a critical first step.

Flooring, Paint, Window Treatments, and More

For the sake of cleanliness, as well as cutting down on pests, it’s best to have hardwood floors or a similar surface in the main living spaces. They don’t hold odors like carpet does, and they’re easy to keep neat. Luxury vinyl tile/plank (LVT) can be an attractive and cost-effective alternative, however, it can stain from liquids, and it can be more work to clean.

If you have carpet, rip it out and replace it with hardwoods or a hardwood alternative. You can always put some area rugs in – but that may have the same issues as a carpet, so you may find yourself replacing those rugs before long.

Gleaming hardwoods are a big draw in listings, as well, so consider it an investment that will help sell the property, as well as keep it clean.

If you’re worried about scratching the floors, put felt pads on the bottoms of table and chair legs. Double-pad them, for increased durability.

In kitchens and baths, have flooring that is water-tolerant and cleans up well. Carpet in either of these rooms should be replaced.

For paint, a semi-gloss that cleans up well is a good idea. An easy-to-find color is helpful, in case you need to do touch-up work.

Windows should have curtains and/or blinds that provide complete privacy when needed. Blackout curtains are a good idea for bedrooms. Window treatments should also allow in plenty of light during the day. All windows must lock, and depending on the neighborhood, you may need to have bars on the ground floor widows.

Make sure that your unit has ample lighting. A few well-placed table lamps or torchieres can make your unit feel homey, as well as provide good light for living. The kitchen and bathroom especially should have good lighting. And the bedroom should have bedside lighting as well.

You should also have cleaning supplies and implements available, such as paper towels, scouring powder and all-purpose cleaner, a broom and a dustpan and possibly a Dustbuster for quick cleanups. Your nurses will be with you for months at a time, so provide them with the tools they’d want to keep their space neat and tidy.

Furniture

You don’t need to have a lot, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, simpler is better. Your goal with furnishing the unit is to make it as functional and comfortable as possible, while being easy to maintain and keep clean.

It’s important to know your criteria up-front, so you don’t end up buying more or less furniture than your tenants want or need. We’ve included a checklist of furniture items in the Resources section as a guideline.

Travel nurses traveling alone typically do not need all the “bells and whistles” of finely appointed living. Some of them actually rent unfurnished apartments and do something as simple as sleep on an inflatable air mattress that they put on the floor. They don’t need cable TV, a hot tub, luxury amenities, or expensive tableware. Just the basics will do.

A couch and a chair in the living room, a table to eat at, dishes and pots and pans in the kitchen, all major appliances, bedroom furnishings that are simple but practical, and a clean bathroom with the necessary cleaning implements, are about all that are needed.

Focus on simplicity and ease of use and care. Make sure the furniture is durable and comfortable, but not too fancy. If you’re renting to nurses who have a small pet, you may want to have cloth upholstery on your furniture, versus leather. And as mentioned before, for the sake of cleanliness and also convenience, have hardwood throughout the unit, not carpet. Sweeping is quicker than vacuuming.

If you’re renting to more than one nurse at a time, you will need to furnish it accordingly, so everyone has a place to sit down and relax, eat their meals, and sleep. If you rent to families who travel with nurses, you will need furniture that is kid friendly as well as kid-sized.

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are one of the most important rooms in the unit.

For some nurses (and for a lot of us), it’s a sanctuary where they can let go of the cares of the day… and get much-needed rest, so they can wade back into the fray.

Beds should be a minimum full-sized, with a quality mattress, good pillows, and comfortable linens.

Stock the closet with an extra set of linens, as well as blankets.

There should be ample lighting, either overhead or from additional lamps around the room.

You can have a smart TV in the bedroom (and/or in the living area), and you must have WiFi available in the bedroom, so they can stay in touch with friends, family, and work, as well as stream their favorite shows.

Closet space is important. If the closet is small, you may wish to add a wardrobe.

There should also be a space for them to store their luggage after they have unpacked so they don’t have to “live around it”.

For furniture, you should include:

  • bedside tables (minimum one)
  • table lamps (minimum one)
  • a dresser

Also good to have:

  • iron and ironing board
  • a full-length mirror
  • blackout curtains (especially for those who work night shifts and sleep during daylight hours)
  • a desk
  • side chair

You don’t have to get too fancy, but you can purchase nice-looking furniture very reasonably. Aim for durability and basic attractiveness, so it’s both appealing on the listing photos for your unit and is cost-effective.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are extremely important, as well, since keeping clean and washing off after their shift are so critical for nurses.

You don’t necessarily need to go top-of-the-line, as shown above, but you should have all essentials.

You should also have adequate light, both at the sinks and overhead.

Each tenant should have their own bathroom. If the bathroom must be shared, or a couple is renting, there should be a double “Jack and Jill” sink arrangement, so they each have their own.

Baths must be clean and fully functional, ideally with both a shower and a bathtub. It can be a combination shower and tub, but for rentability, having both is a plus. 

There should be an exhaust fan, ideally a quiet one. If the fan is old or loud, it may be worth the investment to replace it, to make the environment more comfortable and also protect your investment property from the effects of moisture.

Remember, pictures of the unit will sell it to potential tenants, so having clean, attractive bathrooms is important. Paint should be a quality semigloss that cleans up easily, and mildew-killer should be added to the paint for easier maintenance. 

There should be enough room in the bathroom to store toiletries and a hairdryer and you should also provide cleaning supplies and implements as well.

On multiple floors, where the main bathroom is upstairs near the bedroom(s), it can be helpful to have a half-bath on the ground floor, as well. This makes for more comfortable living, overall.

Kitchen

You don’t need a gourmet kitchen for travel nurses. You don’t need stainless appliances, as shown above, but you do need a full kitchen with major appliances. Some nurses will specify in their inquiry if they need a certain appliance, such as a stove or microwave. If you have the basics in place, your unit will appeal to a wide variety of potential tenants.

Having ample space to prepare food and eat is important.

It’s also important to have good lighting, for easier, safer food preparation.

In terms of tableware and dishes and kitchen implements, provide the basics:

  • forks, knives, spoons, serving spoons
  • plates, bowls, mugs, glasses
  • cutting knives and board, can opener, peeler, corkscrew, etc.
  • sturdy cookware that won’t develop rust or have surfaces that chip off into your tenants’ food.

If you have a microwave in your unit (as you probably will), make sure that all of your dishes are microwave safe, so that your tenants can use them without having to think about it.

Dishwashers are desirable, but not required. If you have no dishwasher, provide a drying rack and dish towels.

You should have a place for your guests to comfortably eat their meals, whether that’s a small table with chairs, or a peninsula off the kitchen with stools.

Ensure that all of the appliances are fully functional.

Dish towels, wash cloths, “scratchless” scrubbing pads, paper towels, dish soap, hand soap, and other cleaning supplies should also be stocked.

Living Area

Your tenants will need a comfortable place to rest and relax after a long day.

You should should provide a couch and possibly an easy chair.

A coffee table is helpful, as are end tables and lamps.

You may want to add a desk, either in the living area or in the bedroom.

There should be ample overhead lighting.

As mentioned earlier, you should have hardwood floors, and you may wish to add an area rug. If you do have an area rug, you will need to provide a vacuum cleaner or electric broom to keep it clean.

If your tenants have pets, it’s a good idea to have upholstery that’s sturdy. Cloth is better than leather, and it holds up better against animal claws.

You should have a smart TV in the living area (and/or in the bedroom), and you must have WiFi available, so they can stay in touch with friends, family, and work, as well as stream their favorite shows.

Pet Space

About a third of all travel nurses travel with comfort animals. These are small dogs or cats who accompany them around the country for comfort at the end of long days. When traveling alone, it can get lonely, so having an animal companion can be a great help. At the end of a long day, there’s nothing like an animal companion cuddling up next to you to make you feel at home. Seasoned travel nurses and their pets know the drill when it comes to renting. These nurses should be responsible with their animals and take proper care of them.

If you’re renting to nurses with pets, it’s a good idea to have a space where they can comfortably and conveniently place a dog crate or their cat’s litter box.

As mentioned before, if they are traveling with pets, furniture that’s leather (or not upholstered with a sturdy fabric) can get damaged. So make sure that your furniture has good upholstery that is pet-resistant.

Any concerns you may have about pets can be offset by the standard non-refundable pet deposit. It’s like charging extra rent for the animal companion, and it covers you in case of damage. However, traveling with pets is so common with travel nurses, you’re protected by their experience. And, in any case, you can always decline to rent to them, if you have concerns.

You may be reluctant to rent to someone with a companion animal, but keep in mind that they have probably rented many times before and they know how to be responsible stewards of your space with their animals. You can charge an extra deposit fee for damages. But you usually have to worry less about pets with travel nurses and pets with other sorts of renters, who may not be as responsible in training their animals.

You can always just ask about pets when you’re screening potential tenants. Find out if they have all the equipment that they need – crates for dogs, litter pans for cats, and so forth. But travel nurses have great motivation to make sure their animals are well behaved, that they don’t damage the unit, and they are quiet. They are so central to the emotional health and well-being of these nurses, but they will go to great lengths to not jeopardize their chances of getting a good place to live because of their companion animals.

You can charge a deposit for pets to cover any potential damage. But nurse is traveling with pets and doing so responsibly is very common, so while at first you may be reluctant, you may find that you change your mind.

In any case, it is totally up to you who you choose to rent your unit two, so even if you do you say you allow pets in your application, you can choose to rent to someone who does not have a cat or a small dog with them.

Note: After renting to someone with an animal, during turnover, special care should be taken to clean and vacuum all pet hair. This can reduce the likelihood of future pets smelling the animals that were there before and being uncomfortable or territorial with your space. It also helps cut down on allergies and my future people who rent from you.

Utilities

You must provide all utilities to your tenants.

Some landlords balk at the idea of paying, but if you think about it, this doesn’t need to be prohibitive.

Nurses are at work for most of each day, and when they’re in the unit, it’s often just them, and their draw on electricity and water is minimal. You may find exceptions to the rule, but this shouldn’t keep you from renting to nurses. Remember, they can afford to pay above market rents you will more than offset your costs.

Utilities include:

  • electricity
  • water / sewer
  • heating & cooling
  • WiFi

If there are restrictions in place for utility usage, such as water restrictions during a drought or electricity restrictions during peak usage season in the summer months, make sure your tenants know since you are covering their usage.

Include mentions of any local restrictions in your welcome packet or binder you provide to them, and ensure they are aware of the limitations.

Make sure that your appliances are energy efficient.

You can also use water saving shower heads and faucets to manage water usage.

Heating and cooling are especially important in desert areas, where it gets so hot during the day and so cold at night.

In the winter, in northern areas, you will need to make sure that you’re sidewalks are shoveled and your property stays warm and safe during the most extreme conditions. No one wants to arrive home at 11 o’clock at night and have to climb through a wall of snow to get to their front door. Also, nobody wants to get up at four o’clock in the morning and open the door to six inches of slush on the front stoop.

Additionally, safety is a concern (and a potential liability), so just as you would with any other tenant situation, make sure snow and ice and other hazards are removed, as required by local law.

Parking

Many nurses also have cars, so parking near your unit is important. It’s great to have off-street parking dedicated to the unit, but if they are at least nearby that is a plus.

This is an other instance where the quality of the neighborhood plays an important role. If the property itself is luxurious on the inside, but the neighborhood is “borderline”, automobiles may be broken into or stolen. In some cases, all parked cars must have steering wheel locks and must be empty of any items that might attract thieves.

Make sure your tenants are aware when they arrive of best practices for parking safely. They may already “know the drill” and be safety conscious, but informing them is important.

Ideally, your unit will have a private parking pad that’s covered and convenient to to the residence.

Amenities

If your property is within easy striking distance of local convenience and stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and attractions, it works in your favor.

Many nurses travel in order to see the world while earning a good living, so having access to essential services, as well as places to explore can be a big plus for them.

The best amenities are within walking distance or accessible by public transportation. Many nurses have cars, so a short drive to the grocery store is very doable.

The closer your property is to attractions like a beautiful local park, a lake, a waterfront area, or walking trails, the better. All these make it more attractive to nurses who are looking for ways to unwind from their stressful jobs, especially when the weather is nice. They may also be looking for a nearby gym or yoga studio, so having them in the vicinity is great.

Sometimes nurses will travel with family members. Their spouse may also be a nurse, or they may bring their family with them. Being close to attractions for the whole family can be a big plus. You should definitely call that out in your property description. These are key selling points that can help your listing stand out from the crowd.

4 – Final Considerations

Maintenance issues

As we all know, sometimes things go wrong in a rental. Sometimes there are utility issues with the city, sometimes a lightbulb burns out, sometimes the toilet won’t stop running. Getting home after a long shift and finding that the microwave isn’t working and you can’t make yourself a hot meal is no fun.

So sometimes you may get calls out of the blue, just like you would with a regular rental.

The thing is, if you’re doing regular inspections and maintenance on your property every three months, the chances of this happening are far less then with a regular long-term rental but you can’t get into inspect and repair on a regular basis.

Timing the repairs is very important, because you don’t want to disrupt your tenant’s sleep. If they’re just coming off their third 12-hour shift in three days and they have another shift first thing in the morning, you should make every effort to work around that.

Repairs can be made when they’re at work and you’re less likely to disrupt your tenants. That will actually be fairly straightforward the schedule, provided they don’t have additional roommates or family members in the unit when you’re going in.

In the case of a single travelers who has regular shifts, you can schedule the repair to take place while they are out of the unit and working. 10 hours should be adequate time to make the necessary repairs clean up after yourself, and leave the property ready for them to get home to a fully functioning unit.

 

Warning! Things to Watch Out For

When it comes to identifying, acquiring, and managing travel nurse rentals, probably the biggest risk of all is not following the model for success. Others have paved the way for you and shown you where and how to do this effectively, and we’re presenting it in a comprehensive program.

Here are the biggest risks to your success:

  • Developing properties in the wrong area. No matter how great the unit, if it’s in a bad neighborhood or it’s too far from the hospital, that will impact your ability to rent it reliable and cash flow at a higher rate.
  • Not having adequate property management in place. Travel nurses have different needs and demands than other types of tenants. That makes them better candidates, but it also takes more work. If you cannot be responsive to requests about your property, and you cannot keep up with inspections and maintenance, you will have issues.
  • Not having your numbers right. As attractive as the additional cash flow is, if you don’t get your numbers right, from the start, you can end up with a bad deal, instead of a good one. Get to know the areas where you’re investing, check your numbers with multiple experts, and always be very conservative with your projections.
  • Being in too much of a hurry. Most quality investments take time to mature, and real estate is no exception. While travel nurse rentals may cash flow at higher rates, market conditions and fluctuations may impact your bottom line. Your horizon should be years (possibly decades) long, not weeks and months. And since the benefits of renting to travel nurses (less damage to your property, better maintenance, potential for consistent recurring income) are really long-term, you should understand that this investment will take time and attention and must be continuously attended, to reach its full potential.

Additionally, there’s always the potential for “people issues”.

Travel nurses are people. And people can do some very strange things. You will need to protect yourself and your property from those sorts of rare situations where people turn out to not be what you thought they were, or their behavior leaves a lot to be desired.

While the majority of travel nurses are very low maintenance, reliable payers who are responsible about your property, there are those cases where some of them aren’t. This is where screening becomes so important. You’ll have your criteria and you will learn to spot trouble before it checks into your unit.

Some things to watch out for our Facebook profiles with a lot of posts about partying or drama, a lack of pay stubs for travel nursing, or nursing in general over the last six months the inability to answer questions clearly and simply and evasive responses to your standard queries In some cases people may not even be nurses but are posing as them to be able to get into your unit. You may also find some leads are extremely demanding and seem like they would be high maintenance.

But because there are so many nurses to choose from, it is totally up to you. You’re under no obligation to say yes to anyone you do not want to rent to.

And remember, you can always use outside services to do background and credit checks for you. You don’t have to do it all alone, but you do have to do it.

Above all, your number one priority is to protect yourself and your property, so you can continue to rent to tenants who are good tenants who do pay their rent, who are low maintenance occupants, and protect the well-being of your valuable investment property.

Positioning your property for maximum occupancy

If you have a property already and you want to rent it regularly to travel nurses, make sure you position it properly, so that #1, it’s easy to find online, and #2, it’s an easy decision for nurses to rent from you.

In this lesson, we’ll show you how you can optimize your Furnished Finder listing to get noticed by travel nurses and be attractive to the kinds of renters you’re seeking.

For a more in-depth view of listing optimization, see the course Rent It, Already!. If you joined us on the Landlord or Property Manager tracks, you have access to this course. If you’d like access, just change your membership to either Landlord or Property Manager.

We talked before about what nurses look for in a property in terms of convenience, safety and comfort as well as additional features that let them live their lives while they are on rotation. It is those features you can call out in your listings.

If you spend some time on travel nurse Facebook groups, you will see what sorts of things they look for, and you will come to appreciate their specific interests as well as their pain points. The more clear you make it to them, that your property meets all of their basic needs, as well as their additional ones, the better your chances and the more you will stand out compared to the competition. If your neighborhood is safe and well established, say so in the description and also include pictures of the neighborhood in your listing. Show pictures of the property on the outside as well as on the inside and show pictures of the street and neighboring properties.

If your property is within easy striking distance of multiple hospitals, be sure to mention that, so you appeal to a larger group of applicants.

If you have off street parking show that if you have easy access to a local park where they can walk their dog or stretch their legs after a long day include pictures of the park. Make sure that your photos give them a good idea of what the space looks like and feels like and make sure that your pictures are crisp and clear and put your property in the best light possible.

You can also include pictures of local attractions that are easy to get to, local restaurants in the area, local pharmacies and convenience stores and grocery stores as well.

If there is historical value to the area, be sure to call that out as well. Some people really value knowing that one of their heroes used to live in that neighborhood. It adds meaning to their stay and may make them feel more at home. It’s also a great talking or discussion point when they call home to their families and tell them about their new place.

You want to give them a good sense of where they will be living. Because it’s not like just staying in a hotel. They will actually be living in your city or town and going about their daily lives as a resident of your area.

Property Nicknames / Headlines

Giving your property a good description or headline is also very Important you can call out the most important features of it in the name.

For example, you can name it after a local hospital such as “Mercy Hospital Retreat” or “General Hospital Sanctuary”. Or if your property is in a popular neighborhood, you can call it something like “Fort Point Bungalow” or “Newly Renovated Sanitized Unit at Fort Point”.

As nurses scroll through social media, as well as listing websites, names like those will catch their eye.

Photos of the Property

Make sure you post photos that will catch their eye at first glance. On listing sites like Furnished Finder, you can select a photo to be featured, which will be the first thing they see as they scroll through all of the listings. In some cases, there can be hundreds of listings for nurses to preview. So you definitely want to stand out making sure that several selling points are visible at first glance will help you position your property in the crowd to have offerings.

Photos of of You

Another important feature is to make sure that you have a photo of yourself so people can easily see who owns the property and who they will be talking to. This not only adds a personal touch, but it also verifies that you are potentially a trustworthy person who is transparent and open and accessible. Make sure your photo looks professional and inviting.

Contact Details

And always make sure that your phone number is clearly available that it is an actual phone number versus a Google Voice number and that it has your local area code. For example, if a nurse is going to a rotation in Baltimore, but the property owner has a California area code that may raise some eyebrows. If you are out of the area, but you still own a rental property that you want to make available to travel nurses. consider hiring A property management company that is local, who can handle that for you. You can contact us here to find out more about hiring a property manager or engaging us to manage your listings and your properties in Baltimore.

 

Identifying great investment opportunities

If you don’t yet have a property, but you want to get into the business of renting to travel nurses, you can use all the information in this guide to select properties that will be good prospects for investment. Obviously, you need to look at the total cost of acquisition including any possible rehab that you need to do.

In the Resources section, we’ve included a checklist to help you decide whether a property will make a good prospect for cash flow. This will help you run your numbers (and compare them to the market rates) for travel nurse rentals, so you can quickly assess whether or not the numbers will work for you.

You may wish to work with a wholesaler who can get properties under contract at below market rates… and then do the necessary repairs and keep it as a buy and hold property. Or you may wish to work with a real estate agent who can connect you with more turnkey opportunities, so you can more easily buy and hold. Or, you may wish to do your own research and handle everything from start to finish. You can do that, too.

If you do work with another party, you should be certain that they fully understand the travel nurse rental model. Everyone on your team needs to be on the same page. Anyone you work with should have the same level of investment as you, so we recommend you require that they complete this course and demonstrate a full understanding of what all is involved in adding travel nurse rentals to your holdings.

Coming soon, we’ll be launching additional trainings specially targeted to Investors, Landlords, Property Managers, and Lenders, to help each team member contribute their best to this exciting investment model. Since you’ve joined as an early adopter, you’re locked in for the low introductory price, and you’ll continue to have access to all our updates, moving forward.

We encourage you to bring your other team members in, as well, so that they can lock in this low price and gain access to even more robust content in the future.

Great investment opportunities are ready and waiting in the travel nurse rental segment. We hope you’ll jump on board and dive in, to get this model working for you!

 

One final word…

We hope you’ve found this course enlightening, and that it’s given you the kind of information and insights you need to take advantage of this great opportunity. We truly believe that this type of investment serves everyone involved.

  • Investors who need reliable real estate opportunities with less extreme risks.
  • Property Managers looking for a great way to keep rentals occupied with lower-maintenance tenants who pay their rent.
  • Landlords who are looking for a better way to cash flow than short-term hosting or long-term hassles.
  • Nurses who need safe, secure, comfortable housing.
  • Hospitals who benefit from well-rested nurses with a solid home base to work from.
  • Our entire country, as we’re so dependent on the skills and capabilities of our valued nurses during these challenging times.

This model isn’t just about making more money. It’s also about providing greater service in return for higher yields. And when done right, everyone benefits in a much deeper way than is possible with most other types of investments.

We hope you’ll invest not only in travel nurse rentals, but in yourself and in our country, as well.

Together, we can do so much more – which benefits each of us as individuals.